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Kawasaki YP-X / YC-X

The Kawasaki YPX was design for a new twinjet airliner proposed by Kawasaki Heavy Industries of Japan. This aircraft could compete with future Boeing's and Airbus narrowbodies, as well as Bombardier's CSeries. It would complete a Japanese-made series of passenger jets, complementing Mitsubishi Aircraft's 70-90 seat Mitsubishi Regional Jet.

The YPX was based on the Kawasaki P-1 aircraft. Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Japan's second largest aircraft manufacturer, was considering commercial versions of the C-X and XP-1, which would diversify the company's revenue streams. KHI wanted to develop a high-speed commercial airlifter based on the C-X. As of late 2008 it hoped to begin a study on this by the end of the decade, but nothing came of this scheme. Dubbed the YC-X, this project would increase the aircraft's payload from the 26t planned for the military version to 37t, and KHI said it would have a high-speed/high-altitude capability that is compatible with commercial routes. The company believed that this program could be feasible with a little modification to the military version's airframe.

Plans were also under way to develop the YP-X, a 120-150 seat passenger aircraft derived from the XP-1. This aircraft could compete with future Boeing's and Airbus narrowbodies, as well as Bombardier's CSeries. It would complete a Japanese-made series of passenger jets, complementing Mitsubishi Aircraft's 70-90 seat Mitsubishi Regional Jet and a 100-120 seater that Mitsubishi might collaborate on with Boeing. However, plans are still at an early stage. This is a longer-term project for the company.

The year 2007 marked a significant turning point in the Japanese aircraft industry as it saw the first flights of the P-X (next model fixed-wing patrol aircraft) and the C-X (next model transport aircraft) along with business decisions regarding expansion of the MRJ project, an environmentally-friendly high-performance small-sized aircraft.

The first XP-1 flew in September 2007 and was delivered in August 2008 following an initial 11-month testing phase. Delays plagued the C-X programme. Its initial roll-out was pushed back due to a problem with rivets bought in the USA - the aircraft finally made its first appearance alongside the XP-1 in July 2007. In 2007 a study committee was established by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government for the "Promotion of Development of a small to medium-sized Jet Passenger Plane," one of the Asian Network of Major Cities 21 (ANMC21) joint projects, in order to investigate methods for realizing development of a small to medium-sized jet passenger plane, unique to Asia, that would meet the aviation demands of the Asian region. Acknowledging that the success of a domestically produced passenger plane would be a significant first step towards realizing a small to medium-sized jet passenger plane unique to Asia, the Seventh Study Committee Meeting gathered together proposals that would further raise public awareness and opinion, and gained the approval of committee members regarding the proposal's essential features.

It is anticipated that there would be a large market for small to medium-sized jet passenger planes in Asia and the Middle East, with a potential demand of approximately 6,000 planes by the year 2030. The year 2007 was a crucial stage in realizing a domestically produced passenger plane, as there is intensifying global competition where China and Russia, in addition to Canada and Brazil, are advancing the development of jet passenger planes that accommodate around 100 passengers.

From the perspective of national security and the sophistication of the country's industrial structure, the development of jet passenger planes is of great significance. Through in-house development and joint manufacturing with United States and European aircraft manufacturers, Asian aircraft manufacturers have developed a high level of technological capability. There is also a strong desire to jointly develop passenger planes.

A jet passenger plane accommodating around 100 passengers and manufactured through the sharing of technology between Japanese and Asian aircraft manufacturers (hereinafter, "Asian passenger plane") carries with it great significance as a symbol of cooperation in Asia, a third regional force alongside the United States and Europe. The success of a domestically produced passenger plane is a large first step towards realizing an Asian passenger plane. This task - development through to industrialization of a domestically produced passenger plane - should be supported by the entire nation. The realization of an Asian passenger plane should be an "Asian project," and engaged in under the leadership of Japan in cooperation with every other Asian country. This will not only serve to increase the presence of Asia as a whole, but also work to raise the position of Japan within Asia.

By 2008 Kawasaki Heavy Industries's aerospace division was attempting to reduce its reliance on military sales and increase revenues from commercial aviation. "We are now only studying the possibility for the YP-X," Chikashi Motoyama, president of KHI's aerospace division said in September 2008. "The business environment is changing day by day and we don't know what will be needed in the future. This is a longer-term project for the company."

That was about the last that was heard of this project.



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